Tropical Storm Dennis, the fourth named storm of the year in the Atlantic Basin, formed in the south-eastern Caribbean Sea late Monday and is on a track to take the system between Cuba and Little Cayman.
The cyclone was upgraded to a tropical storm Tuesday morning when sustained winds reached 40 miles per hour.
Upper level winds and temperature conditions are favourable for further strengthening and the system is project to become a minimum hurricane as it passes the northern coast of Jamaica Thursday morning.
With Dennis reaching tropical storm status, it marked the earliest date ever for there to be four named storms in the Atlantic Basin, the National Hurricane Center in Miami stated in one of its advisories.
Chairman of Cayman’s National Hurricane Centre Donovan Ebanks said the storm was being watched closely, but that no further actions had been taken as of noon Tuesday because the storm was projected to pass north of the Cayman Islands only as a minimal hurricane at most.
‘We’ll take a look at the 4 o’clock (U.S. National Hurricane Center) advisory and go from there,’ he said. ‘We might issue an advisory later tonight, but most likely it won’t be until tomorrow morning, which is closer to the 48 hour mark.’
The position of the system at 5 am Tuesday was nearly identical to Hurricane Ivan’s position at 5 am 8 September.
However Ivan was already a Category 4 hurricane at the position with 140 mph winds, while Dennis was still a depression with 40 mph winds.
Even though the National Hurricane Center’s predicted path of Dennis has it passing about 100 miles northeast of Little Cayman, all three of the Cayman Islands are well within the potential three-day track area as of Tuesday morning.